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Will there be tax incentives for natural gas Exploration ?  

New Delhi, July 25: Moves are afoot to keep the tax incentives in natural gas during the next round of bidding for oil and gas blocks.

The Planning Commission is keen on the incentives for the ninth round of bidding under the New Exploration and Licensing Policy (Nelp-IX) that is due after September.

“Fiscal incentives similar to the exploration of oil need to be extended to all forms of natural gas exploration and exploitation,” the mid-term appraisal by the Planning Commission said.

On whether the definition of mineral oil will include natural gas vis-a-vis tax incentives, the official said, “We have taken up the issue with the finance ministry. There can be no question of Nelp-IX without tax breaks being worked out for gas as well.”

Sources said that about 50 blocks would be on offer in the ninth round of Nelp. Blocks without bids in the eighth round would be put up for sale.

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, in his budget for 2009-10, restored the seven-year income tax holiday for the production and sale of natural gas from blocks awarded under Nelp-VIII.


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